Talking Toilets..

4 Mar

By that I don’t mean  a chatty carzy that natters to you while you do the business. Mind you, in this day and age,  there’s probably a smart loo available, amassing statistics and analysing your waste. Perhaps even an Alexis-type voice advising you to take it steady on the beans/brussels etc. What a dreadful thought..!

No, today I will be blogging about bogs, so if you are at all squeamish/appalled by the thought, look away now.

When I bought Hobo, some thirteen years ago, she came complete with a Thetford Porta Pottie, which I vowed to replace with a pump-out as soon as possible. A wise old boater told me to live with it a while and let things evolve. So I did and, until a couple of weeks ago, I was still using the same method, albeit a more up to date version – the Qube.

It’s largely been satisfactory and, all this time I’ve lived aboard, I’ve heaved the full tank off the boat, lugged it to a suitable tipping out place, learned how to hold my breath for as long as it takes to empty, rinsed out and cleaned. And repeat. On average, it would probably take about 5 days to refill (less when I’ve had company) so multiply that up and I’ve probably performed this task the best part of a thousand times. Scary.

The emptying process is even more of a schlep when the yard here is muddy – like right now – and frankly I’d been struggling with it. (Three months living in a house in South Africa with the flush fairy probably spoiled me somewhat.) Then one day, my neighbour  invited me onto her boat to see her latest purchase… a composting loo made in the USA by C-head.

She’s often seen me trudge, grim-faced and with toilet in tow, in all weathers and when conditions underfoot guarantee a sense of humour failure – not that there’s ever a good time to undertake this dreaded task. She thought perhaps something similar would be a good idea for me too. I was given a no-holds-barred guided tour of her facility, with explicit explanations on its workings, cost and told how easy it was to empty. (I think she’s on commission.)

To non-boaters, this may seem a little strange but, trust me, it is quite the norm for boatie folk. And, as boaters will know only too well, when two or more of us get together, it is where the conversation ends up. Always. We do talk a lot of shite.

It’s something I’d been considering for a while, but more or less dismissing it, thinking it complicated and/or messy. Not so. Boatbird isn’t easily impressed but on this occasion I was. Very. I saw with my own eyes how simple yet stylish it was…

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Image courtesy of c-head website

and how it fitted into the confines of a boat bathroom. And there was no smell at all. This would be perfect for me: no more heavy lifting, costly chemicals or worrying, when out cruising, where the next usable Elsan disposal point is.

I was so sold on the idea, that when I got back to Hobo, I was straight on the wonderweb at http://www.c-head.com placing my order. OK, it’s not cheap and, given recent expense, I should have restrained myself but it was such a no-brainer. No more dates with gross and grotty tip-outs, resulting in a happier and more eco-friendly boatbird. Anyway, that’s what credit cards are for. And I am so worth it.

The actual cost was: 599.00 + 150.00 p&p = 749.00 USD. At the current exchange rate this equated to 594.31 GBP. What I hadn’t accounted for was the import duty of £161.62, which brought the total up to £755.93 and was only made aware of this when Parcelforce notified me they would be holding on to my new loo until I paid this to them. Bugger.

It did piss me off a bit. I still don’t think that going green should cost me but that’s greedy, grabbing governments for you.

Fast forward to now and I’ve been (very happily) living with the c-head composter for a couple of weeks. It is every bit as good as I’d hoped – and more. Its footprint is actually smaller than that of the old portaloo but a little taller, which is a good thing. It looks good, dead easy to clean, there’s no smell and it’s a doddle to empty. It does come complete with a venting kit which, as my neighbour said, is really not necessary.

It is also easy to move, which is vital for my set up as it sits in front of my washing machine…

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so needs shifting on wash days. A kit is supplied to fix to the floor/wall but this is not for me. Seems sturdy enough without anyway.

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It works so well because liquids and solids are directed to separate containers…

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because, apparently, it is when the two mix that the stink happens. Wee is funnelled to a plastic five litre bottle (easily disposed of under a hedge) or, if diluted 5 parts water to 1 part urine, can be used on the garden. It’s a high nitrogen fertiliser so very good for plants. I find this needs emptying every two or three days but will need to be more often for two or more users. Obviously.

Poo goes to a plastic bucket, into a measured amount of composting medium and then, with lid back down, churned by the handle supplied…

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Clever. I’m using sawdust (free and readily available) but many other types will work: animal bedding, cat litter etc.

Extra medium can be added if necessary – when diarrhoea strikes or wee is misaimed. It is recommended that men be seated to avoid the latter. You can put toilet paper into the compost but this will fill it far sooner, so it is suggested this be placed in a separate bin for later disposal. (Mine gets burned promptly on the wood stove so really not a problem.)

When this is used up (you know when because cranking becomes harder) it’s fine to double bag and dispose of with the rubbish. Or, line up a suitable place outdoors and start a heap – should be fully composted in a few months and ready to spread on the garden.

I’ve emptied it once now – simple enough – and pleasantly surprised by the scent of forest floor. Doesn’t look like what it is and not at all noxious. It really is clever.

Another neighbour, into all things organic, wants to use it to grow mushrooms in. I’m thinking this could be marketed – extract of Annie – so the mushrooms are bound to be magic!

Tell you what was magic; that last time I tipped out the old camping loo, knowing it would be the last time – EVER!

So good, I did a little dance. Right there and then.

 

 

 

 

4 Responses to “Talking Toilets..”

  1. sharonelaine1 March 4, 2019 at 9:57 pm #

    Really fascinating, I had no idea. I feel I know you so much better now.😁😘

    • Boatbird March 5, 2019 at 1:08 pm #

      Ha ha! My innermost self..

  2. José March 5, 2019 at 9:19 am #

    One of your best ..

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